Struggling to return to pre-pandemic sales levels in its stores—like most retailers in the wake of COVID-19 lockdowns—but falling short, Nordstrom announced last week that it will lay off a percentage of its sales force companywide.
A Nordstrom spokesperson said in a prepared statement, “While our hope was to bring back every one of our employees as our stores reopened, based on our needs today, and what we anticipate our needs being in the future, we must adjust the size of our store sales force.”
The company did not specify how many jobs would be cut but said the COVID-19 pandemic “has had an impact on our business.”
That much is clear.
After net sales plummeted 40% the in first quarter of 2020, the retailer shuttered 16 locations permanently in May, then cut 6,000 jobs nationwide in June. Salaries for executives were reduced, and the company announced that several board members, including CEO Erik Nordstrom, would not be paid for a portion of 2020.
Some of Nordstrom’s layoffs this time were the result of employees expressing hesitation over going back to work, for reasons that included worries about whether it was safe enough to interact with the public during an active pandemic, reports Business Insider, who interviewed a handful of recently laid-off Nordstrom employees.
In the event that employees reject offered working hours, they become ineligible for unemployment benefits in many states.
Nordstrom recently eliminated its in-store human resource positions, so laid-off employees “were given a number at a call center that they should contact if they had any questions.”
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